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From Measuring to Learning; how to improve our programs by joint evaluations
Start date: Feb 15, 2015, End date: Feb 14, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The strategic partnership aims to improve our debate programs and outreach to young people all across Europe by improving our planning, monitoring and evaluation capacities and institutionalise our learning from evaluations. The consortium consists of debate education organisations that have worked with young people for at least a decade and have developed basic evaluation capacities. There is limited sharing of experience, comparison of results and learning from current evaluations, however. The partnership aims to improve on that situation by creating a cooperation program between eight partners from different European countries in which they develop common indicators for how to measure the impact of debate on young people and how they can learn from their evaluations. The partners will be trained in how to use evaluations in their organisations, test tools they develop, share experiences of how the evaluations happened and analyse the results together. These tools will help us define how to best achieve the goals of our debate programs. The project has the following objectives: • To exchange good practices on debate evaluations and how to learn from them. To develop one common tool for such evaluations to increase learning from each other • To develop and test one evaluation tool of longer-term high school debate programs to be used in a number of European countries. The evaluation will include active citizenship, self-esteem, school attainments, critical thinking skills and attitudes towards citizenship and politics (based on a previous discussion of our evaluation needs). • To promote learning from evaluation practices and to promote the incorporation of learning and evaluation practices in organisational structures. • To train the participants in developing evaluations, setting up evaluations including baselines, developing innovative ways of learning and evaluating and involving youth in evaluations • To use the evaluation tool to establish the effects of our debate programmes and identify ways in which to improve them • To disseminate the best practices in evaluation and develop guidelines for organisations in IDEA’s network on how to evaluate events, workshops and debate programmes, contributing to further development of the whole network The project first focuses on understanding the theory and practices of evaluating citizenship, secondly partners are going to be trained to develop and test evaluation tools, third they are going to conduct the evaluation and, fourth, we share and disseminate the best practices via publications and conferences. We will use international training events to train coordinators and evaluators on their tasks, share experiences and use action-learning in which lessons are immediately applied. The partners share their knowledge and feedback and adapt the project as we go. The evaluations are of existing debate programs, and will be used to improve those programs. We will disseminate the results through seminars with experts and trainings of other debate multipliers. The program results in a set of best practices how to use debate as a method to empower young people as active citizens and concrete recommendations about how debate education impacts the academic, social, psychological and political development of young people. Debate trainers and curriculum developers can use this information to better understand how to improve the pedagogical and didactical approaches of debate education programs. The improved programs resulting from this will increase the positive impact of debate education. We aim to use the project to improve certification of debate training in the education sector. We will create guidelines for youth (work) organisations how to use evaluations as a guide to improving their programs, and how to involve youth in their evaluations. Organisations involved, have developed capacity to plan-monitor and evaluate their programs better and have developed proper learning loops to improve their debate programs. They are now able to train others to do the same. This should create a sustainable evaluation methodology. The project results in increased cooperation and sharing of knowledge on debate effects and evaluation practices in different geo-political contexts across our strategic partner consortium. This process is enabled by offering trainings and partner meetings, online data collection, preparation, analysis of results and dissemination at multipliers events before we promote a final report. This will show all partners the value of increased cooperation and sharing of knowledge.

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